Late Hurtado goal keeps Sporting in playoff chase

Sporting Kansas City forward Erik Hurtado knocked in the game-winning goal past the lunge of Minnesota goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Kansas City won the game 1-0. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
 

by Brian Turrel

An 88th minute goal for striker Erik Hurtado gave Sporting Kansas City a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United FC and kept the club within striking distance of making the MLS playoffs.

Although they played aggressively throughout the match and kept pressure on Minnesota’s defense, Sporting had trouble breaking through until Hurtado’s game-winner. Johnny Russell placed the ball neatly through a gap in the Minnesota defense. Hurtado touched the ball to his right to stretch out Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone, and then played the ball back across at an angle for the score.

After the game, head coach Peter Vermes credited the team’s approach to the game.

“It was the relentlessness of the guys in pursuit of that goal,” Vermes said.  “That’s why we scored in the 88th minute, because we weren’t going to be denied.”

The victory brought Sporting Kansas City within 3 points of the final playoff position, but earning the playoff berth will likely require three to four more victories in the seven remaining games.

Sporting will play next against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Fans reacted to Hurtado’s late game-winner. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Daniel Salloi’s shot was blocked by defender Romain Metanire. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Former Kansas City defender Ike Opara had a friendly word with head coach Peter Vermes after the match. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Minnesota defender Chase Gasper slid in to knock the ball away from Erik Hurtado. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Kansas City defender Graham Zusi raced toward the Minnesota goal. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Erik Hurtado took a shot on goal in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Kansas City defender Luis Martins played a shot into the penalty area past the block of Romain Metanire. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Erik Hurtado ran onto the ball near the top of the penalty area before being stopped by the Minnesota goalkeeper. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Minnesota defender Ike Opara, with Kansas City for the past six years, headed the ball back to his goalkeeper. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

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